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Charles COUNTY Maryland

Feeling Crabby?

Blue crabs highlight local dining scene

Outside Influences Natural beauty shapes local lifestyles

2013 | sponsored by the Charles County Chamber of Commerce

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Building a GREENER Future


4 Welcome to Charles County An introduction to the community

Things to Do 8 Outdoor Fun Outside Influences

Natural beauty shapes local lifestyles

12 Local Flavor Feeling Crabby? Blue crab highlights

local dining scene

14 Arts & Culture A Mix of Music, Visual Arts and Drama 2013 edition

volume 12

Charles County


16 Sports & Recreation A Pinch of Baseball


8 Community 1 Historically Great


Charles County’s eventful past dates to 1658

22 Education Smart Approach 5 Health 2 Connect the Docs

27 Community Profile


8 Working Here 2 In Good Company


0 Business Climate 3 Firing up the Local Economy

Ten ‘economic engines’ keep county going

3 Chamber Report 3 Hail to the Chief

35 Economic Profile

18 On The Cover Sailboats on the Potomac River Photo by staff photographer

All or part of this magazine is printed with soy ink on recycled paper containing 10% post-consumer waste. Please recycle this magazine

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Building a Better Business … Building a Better Community Setting the stage for growth and progress takes vision and commitment. Facchina is there with business and government helping to meet the challenges and opportunities for Charles County.

You can take it with you

~ Paul V. Facchina, Sr., Founder and CEO rles-county


At Facchina we are over 500 individuals and their families with many calling Charles County home. We build new roads and bridges to improve safety for the traveling public. We build new buidings for jobs and services that provide employment for the area residents. Our business parks are planned using the national leadership in energy and the environment “LEED” programs. We are developers and contractors, but we are also conservationists dedicating open space and preservation areas to the regions Rural Legacy programs and to the Maryland Environment Trust. We are proud to be part of Charles County’s history and its future!


nces Outside Influe

Blue crabs rem County king in Charles

lifestyles shapes local Natural beauty SORED 2013 | SPON


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Heavy/Civil Construction – Site and Building Development Concrete Frames – Commercial Building and Construction Charles County, La Plata, Maryland charles-county

ONLINE | Index


MORE ON CHARLES COUNTY Go to the links below for more articles and photos about Charles County’s business climate, recreation, food, schools, health care, culture and more. TOP EMPLOYERS md/business DEMOGRAPHICS md/facts SCHOOLS md/schools HEALTHCARE md/health NEIGHBORHOODS md/living ATTRACTIONS md/attractions FOOD md/food Read about Charles County’s many different communities, such as Indian Head, Port Tobacco Village, Waldorf, Cobb Island and St. Charles at


GALLERY See more great images from around Charles County. photos-videos


YOU’LL FIND IT HERE Get more details about the area’s many retailers. shopping

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At A Glance

Washington, ngton D.C. ngto

Charles County, Maryland 29 295

A quick, comprehensive overview of what’s great about the community


Indian Head 301

St. Charles 5

La Plata



Hughesville 6

Port Tobacco Village


VIRGINIA Cobb Island


Charles County

Charles County, a Southern Maryland community 30 miles from Washington, D.C. has many miles of shoreline and gorgeous parks, which make it one of the state’s most scenic areas.



Time zone Eastern

Distances to three major cities nearby Washington, D.C.: 30 miles Baltimore, Md.: 70 miles Richmond, Va.: 100 miles

For More Information

Charles County Chamber of Commerce 101 Centennial St., Ste. A La Plata, MD 20646 Phone: (301) 932-6500 Fax: (301) 932-3945


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annual rainfall


National Average: 30”

Accolade 15th Richest County in the U.S. –

Blessed with natural beauty and rich in history, Charles County shines in its own right beyond its benefits of being a convenient bedroom community to Washington, D.C., which is 30 miles north. Easy Living Great schools, a pastoral setting and an easy pace of living top the list of reasons people prefer Charles County. Historic churches and homes dot the countryside, while the area’s indigenous and abundant blue crabs scuttle into the bellies of diners and into the hearts of sports fans as the local baseball team mascot. The county’s many small businesses combined with major retail development in Waldorf ensure residents can find almost any good or service they need right here at home if they’d rather skip the drive to D.C. Economic Opportunity Government, education and health-care service providers account for the largest amount of jobs here, including Charles County government administration, the Board of Education, Sheriff’s Office, the College of Southern Maryland and Civista Medical Center. Meanwhile, Naval Support Facility Indian Head, established in 1890 as the Navy’s first presence in Southern Maryland, continues going strong and employs several thousand people. Charles County’s excellent quality of life and proximity to D.C. continues to draw new residents, creating an opportunityrich environment for even more small businesses to thrive. Read on to learn more about what makes Charles County one of America’s best places to live.

Downtown La Plata

Centennial Plaza in downtown La Plata includes more than 22,000 square feet of office space, a large marble fountain, and easy access to shops, restaurants and other amenities.

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Things To Do Charles County’s must-do attractions, activities and dining

Take Yourself Out to the Ball Game

Head to the 4,200-seat Regency Furniture Stadium in Waldorf to catch a Southern Maryland Blue Crabs baseball game. The team, part of the Liberty Division of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, plays from April to September. The ballpark also includes a catered picnic area and a play area for kids.



Take a Tour

Horse Trails



Make the Trek



Enjoy lunch at La Plata’s Royal Tea Room, which has a broad selection of teas, including Earl Grey, White Ginger Pear, Apricot Amaretto and Organic Green. The tea room also serves food such as flatbread pizzas, sandwiches, soups, wraps and salads.

Follow the Heron’s Flight Trail, one of four agritourism trails promoted by the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission. This trail includes various sites including restaurants, bed-and-breakfasts, state parks and art centers.

Explore more than seven miles of equestrian trails at Oak Ridge Park in Hughesville. The area’s labeled orange and green trails are ideal for new riders, while the red, yellow and blue trails are best suited for more experienced equestrians.

Visit Waldorf’s many shopping destinations such as St. Charles Towne Center, which includes more than 130 stores, The Shops at Waldorf Center’s 35 retailers, and several shops and boutiques at Park Waldorf Shopping Center.

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State Park



Dog Park





Search for fossilized shark teeth at Purse State Park on Wades Bay, which is part of the Potomac River, when the tide is low, or cast a line and fish for carp, largemouth bass and white perch. The 100-acre park is also perfect for birding and waterfowl hunting.

Check out the Nanjemoy Creek Great Blue Heron Sanctuary during the winter and spring months to catch a glimpse of the birds that breed in the area. The sanctuary’s 288-acre preserve houses more than 1,100 great blue herons.

Play a round of golf at White Plains Golf Course, or tee it up at Potomac Ridge Golf Course in Waldorf. Hawthorne Country Club in La Plata also has a scenic course, as does Swan Point Yacht & Country Club located on the banks of the Potomac River.

Let your pet run free at La Plata’s Turkey Hill Park, where dogs can enjoy an enclosed off-leash dog park. Other amenities include four soccer fields, a football field, two picnic pavilions and a half-mile roadway designed for walkers and runners.

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Things To Do

Perfect for cyclists, the 13-mile Indian Head Rail Trail connects Indian Head to Route 301 in White Plains.



Natural beauty shapes local lifestyles


rowing up in Charles County wasn’t so much a matter of going outside to play as it was knowing when to come back in, says resident Tracey Albrittain.


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yR d.

Middleton’s Cedar Hill Farm

Indian Head Rail Trail

Smallwood State Park Gilbert Run Regional Park

Mallows Bay Park

Purse State Park


Find more outdoor fun at Serenity Farm in Benedict with farm tours, a petting zoo and spe cial events.

“I grew up on the banks of the Potomac, right on the water, because that’s where my parents had a farm,” says Albrittain, finance director of the Charles County Chamber of Commerce. “We are surrounded by water here, so we were always out swimming, crabbing and fishing. We’ve got several marinas, so everybody had a boat, and if we weren’t on the water we were at the other parks

around here. It’s an amazing place for outdoor living.” Parks and Trails Named for native son General William Smallwood, who served in the American Revolution, Smallwood State Park south of Indian Head comprises 628 acres and includes a marina, boat launching ramps, picnic and camping areas, pavilions, recycled-

tire playground and nature trails. Ten miles south, visitors can explore the “largest shipwreck fleet in the Western Hemisphere,” Mallows Bay Park, which consists of graves of more than 230 ships sunk in the river. Many are steamships from World War I and were subsequently scuttled in the bay. A .8-mile trail loops around the salvage basin, which also has a boat ramp and pier for recreational use. l i va b i l i t y. c o m /c h a r l e s- c o u n t y


Anglers, Get Ready to Cast a Line

Located along the Indian Head Rail Trail, Bumpy Oak Pond is a top spot for fishing. The 30-mile Mattawoman Creek, a tributary to the Potomac River, is nearby and also attracts anglers. Thanks to its impressive largemouth bass population, the creek is home to national fishing tournaments.

“We are surrounded by water here, so we were always out swimming, crabbing and fishing. We’ve got several marinas, so everybody had a boat, and if we weren’t on the water we were at the other parks around here. It’s an amazing place for outdoor living.” Tracey Albrittain, RESIDENT


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A few miles down the Potomac at Wades Bay, birding and wildlife enthusiasts find plenty to raise their binoculars to at Purse State Park, where people also enjoy hunting and searching for fossils. Those interested in birding also may flock directly eastward from there to Nanjemoy Creek Great Blue Heron Sanctuary, where herons come each winter to mate and raise their young. The chicks hatch in April, and by July the birds are all over the Potomac and Chesapeake Bay. Besides being near or getting out on the water, people here enjoy a large, growing network of parks and trails. Among them is the new Indian Head Rail Trail, a 13-mile bike trail converted from a railroad corridor deeded to the county through the National Park Service’s Federal Lands to Parks Program. Originally built in 1918 as a supply

route for the Navy’s Indian Head Powder Factory, the trail runs halfway across the county, connecting the town of Indian Head to Route 301 in White Plains. On the eastern side of the county, walkers and joggers take to Gilbert Run Park’s 2.5-mile nature trail that runs along the 69-acre Wheatley Lake in Charlotte Hall. The park offers a self-guided nature walk, fishing pavilions, several boardwalks and bridges, and even a beaver colony observation deck. Agritourism Charles County’s tobacco farming heritage runs deep, and many of those long-time family farms have become destinations for family fun – yet another reason to spend time outdoors enjoying the area’s rich natural resources. One popular spot is Middleton’s Cedar Hill Farm, owned by state

Indian Head Rail Trail near Bensville Park.

Senator Thomas “Mac” Middleton and his family. According to Middleton, legacy farming, such as that done by the county’s Amish community and other traditional farmers, coupled with the conversion of some properties to agritourism, creates an economic development one-two punch for Charles County. “On any given weekend we’ll have more than 50 percent of our visitors from outside the area,” Middleton says. “We have a strong, agrarian tradition here, and I see it continuing to survive and thrive in many different ways.”  by Joe Morris  by staff photographers

Make Waves Smallwood State Park includes Sweden Point Marina, which offers easy access to the Potomac River and has 50 slips for boats.

Learn more about recreation in Charles County at la-plata/md/activities.

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Things To Do: Local Flavor

Dinner and Dancing

Stop by Gilligan’s Pier Seafood, Steakhouse & Beach Club for hearty portions of crabs and shrimp, as well as oysters, rockfish, scallops, steaks and chicken dishes. On weekends, starting mid-May, Gilligan’s hosts beach parties complete with live music and dancing.


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Feeling Crabby?

Blue crabs, stuffed ham stand out as Charles County’s food specialties Foodies around the country rejoice when blue crabs are available. But in Charles County, they’re plentiful from April through October. The blue crab is rightly known for its sweet, juicy meat, and the waters around La Plata are full of them. Usually served steamed, they’re dipped in everything from butter to vinegar and Old Bay seasoning. Locals often spend a day crabbing on the waterfront, then haul home supper. Some others also choose to have their work done for them, at least the collecting and cooking part. Other local treats include rockfish, shrimp and scallops. Best of all, what’s on the menu at lunch or dinner was probably swimming around that morning. “Catch of the day” really means something in Charles County. Crab Restaurants Whatever your pleasure, you can’t go wrong with a crab house. There are many to choose from, but local favorites include Newburg’s Gilligan’s Pier Seafood, Steakhouse & Beach Club, which not only has seafood and steaks but also has a 1.5-acre beach out back as well as a private dock just past Goosebay Marina; Captain Billy’s Crab House, also in Newburg, which has been

Charles County’s locally owned eateries thrive

serving seafood for more than 60 years; Port Tobacco Restaurant, which offering seafood as well as boat-slip rental and marina service on the Potomac; and Captain John’s Crab House, another Newburg favorite that’s been satisfying diners for 49 years.

The Charles County dining scene includes more diversity than those specializing in regional dishes, of course. Here’s a sampling of go-to locally owned restaurants:

Stuffed Ham If seafood isn’t your first choice, Southern Maryland has a unique specialty waiting for your taste buds. It’s stuffed ham, a dish that graces many tables for holidays and other special occasions with a recipe often handed down through generations. Here’s how it works: A corned ham is soaked or injected with brine, removed from its bone and stuffed with cabbage, kale and spices. The exact spices, as well as the ratio of other ingredients, are a closely guarded secret with most cooks. There are plenty of recipes around if you want to try to your own, but a faster and easier way is to seek out a local expert, such as Nick’s of Clinton, a deli and market in Waldorf, which has them all cooked up and ready to go.  by Joe Morris

The Crossing at Casey Jones Restaurant (301) 392-5116

“Pope’s Creek has been known for its blue crab restaurants since the 1960s, and it’s just a ritual – just what people come here to do. I didn’t start it, but have definitely enjoyed being a part of it the past 11 years.” Art jolliffe, owner of gilligan’s pier

Eat Local

La Plata

The Royal Tea Room Marie’s Diner Pancakes Plus (301) 934-1740 Ouzo’s Pizza Hotline

White Plains Prime Street Grille Loredo’s Steakhouse and Grill (301) 932-8667 Martini’s Lounge

Port Tobaccob Blue Dog Saloon and Restaurant

Waldorf Ledo Pizza Lefty’s Barbecue Sakura Japanese Steak and Seafood House

Bryan’s Road Mama Stella’s II Restaurant

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Things To Do: arts & culture

See Local Artists’ Work

The new Waldorf West Library in St. Charles opened in late 2012 and includes gallery spaces that spotlight works by many talented Charles County artists. The library includes four separate gallery spaces: in a conference room, in two study rooms and in the fiction section.

A Mix of Music, Visual Arts & Theatre Arts enthusiasts find much to enjoy in Charles County

Charles County’s arts community encompasses festivals, music, theatre and several facilities showing visual arts year round. Live Music


sing along at an outdoor concert

enjoy live entertainment

If music is your favorite expression of art, then Charles County’s roster of concert series will be music to your ears. The Town of La Plata presents an annual Summer Concert Series on the west lawn adjacent to Town Hall. Free concerts are held every Friday night from Memorial Day through the end of September. Concert-goers often bring lawn chairs and picnic baskets, and food is also available for sale. In July and August, you can attend free outdoor concerts at the College of Southern Maryland’s Twilight Performance Series, held on all three of the college’s campuses over four weeks. The college brings in professional musicians specializing in everything from folk music to Motown and jazz. In Waldorf/St. Charles, music-lovers can enjoy the Sunset Concert Festival, a summer series of free Friday night performances held on the boardwalk at O’Donnell Lake. The waterfront concerts spotlight local artists and a variety of music genres.


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Theater fans have plenty of options for entertainment in Charles County. The Indian Head Center for the Arts houses the Black Box Theatre, a venue that provides local artists with a setting for plays, musicals, recitals and other performances throughout the year. Find more fun things to do in Charles County at md/attractions.


celebrate the arts The Charles County Arts Alliance promotes upcoming arts activities in its weekly newsletter and sponsors River ArtsFest, an annual event that draws close to 2,000 spectators. Held on the picturesque greens surrounding the La Plata Town Hall in June, River ArtsFest brings together musicians, artists and performers.

Visual Arts

Admire beautiful creations The Mattawoman Creek Art Center showcases visual arts in Charles County. Located inside Smallwood State Park in Marbury, Mattawoman Creek hosts art exhibits, workshops and lectures about painting, pottery and sculpture. By Jessica Mozo

Sit Back and Enjoy the Show

Two community theatre groups entertain audiences in Charles County. The Port Tobacco Players in La Plata, founded in 1947, performs six shows each season on a recently renovated stage in a 1940s movie theater. The Hard Bargain Players in Accokeek perform in a 1930s outdoor amphitheater at Hard Bargain Farm. They are known for presenting unusual plays that ask questions and allow patrons to come up with the answers.

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Things To Do: sports & recreation

A Pinch of Baseball

Blue Crabs organization entertains and supports community

Blue Crabs mascot “Pinch” greets kids during a reading program.


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The Southern Maryland Blue Crabs have been making baseball news in Waldorf since they formed in 2008, and were selected to host the 2013 Atlantic League All-Star Game in July. During the regular season, the Blue Crabs play 140 games – 70 at home – from late April through late September. They welcomed about 250,000 spectators to Waldorf’s 4,200-seat Regency Furniture Stadium in 2012. “The team attracts fans mostly from Charles County, but we also market to St. Mary’s, Calvert and Prince George’s counties as well as northern Virginia. The team plays good, high-quality baseball,” says Amanda McComas, community relations manager for the team. The Blue Crabs have enjoyed various successes during their brief history, including making


the Atlantic League playoffs for the past four seasons. The team plays independent league baseball (not affiliated with Major League Baseball), although Major League teams can sign independent league players to MLB minor league contracts if desired. Giving Back McComas says the Blue Crabs also give back to the community by offering special promotions. For example, a Paint the Park Pink game is held on a Saturday during the summer to promote breast cancer awareness, with several activities culminated by a balloon release by breast cancer survivors. “We also organize a Pinch Onto Books Reading Program, where our Blue Crabs mascot Pinch goes to all area schools to promote reading,” McComas says. “The program

lasts a few weeks, and our team provides a pizza party to the topreading school in each county.” The Blue Crabs also host charity events that benefit organizations such as the Southern Maryland Food Bank, the Salvation Army, Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund, Soldier’s Angels, Oriole Advocates, and the American Red Cross. There is also a Prostate Cancer Awareness Night to further promote health and wellness. “Brooks Robinson of Baltimore Orioles fame is one of the ownership partners for the team, and our Blue Crabs fan base has the nickname of Crustacean Nation,” McComas says. “Family fun and good baseball – that’s what the Blue Crabs are all about.”  by Kevin Litwin

“Regency Furniture Stadium is not only ideal for baseball, but it’s a great meeting place. I have a suite and entertain customers often – I’ve even been to several concerts at the stadium.” Charlie brown, season ticket holder

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Historic Church

Christ Episcopal Church originally stood in Port Tobacco, but was dismantled and moved to La Plata, the county seat, in 1904, but it burned two years later. The congregation then built the present church here, where services are still held today.


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County’s eventful past dates to 1658

“People today are so consumed by their work and the demands of family life that our history isn’t always fully embraced. But Charles County has an important legacy, and folks continue to move here because it’s such a wonderful place.” Phil mcdonagh, resident


harles County’s rich history includes wars, fires, tobacco, gambling and two significant tornadoes, but the thing that draws newcomers to this community near Washington, D.C., is its people – and their unfailing ability to turn adversity into opportunity.

Charles County Historic Sites Founded in 1658, Charles County has several historic sites standing today that testify to its longevity. “One of the neatest sites is the [1819] Port Tobacco Courthouse,” says Wayne Winkler, a La Plata town councilman and lifelong resident. “Years ago, Port Tobacco was the commerce center and the county seat. It was where all the farmers brought their tobacco to be shipped overseas.”

An 1892 fire destroyed the main wing of the courthouse, and the county seat was moved to La Plata. The Port Tobacco Courthouse is now a museum containing tobacco, archeological and Civil War exhibits. St. Ignatius Church, built in 1798, is one of the oldest continually operating Catholic churches in the nation. “It is also believed to be part of the slave trail, where they stopped and received food and rested on l i va b i l i t y. c o m /c h a r l e s- c o u n t y


Active Parish

St. Ignatius Church, built in 1798, housed Union troops during the Civil War and was home to the Superiors of the Maryland Mission. Today, the church continues to operate as a Catholic parish.

their journey north,” Winkler says. Other interesting sites include Christ Church in Ironsides (1732), St. Thomas Manor (1741), the Thomas Stone National Historic Site (1771), the town of Benedict (which played a role in the War of 1812), and the Samuel Mudd House Museum. Slot Machine Alley In the 1950s and ‘60s, Charles County became known for gambling. Route 301 from Waldorf to the Potomac River Bridge was known as “Little Vegas” or “Slot Machine Alley” and actually outpaced slot revenues in Las Vegas at the time. “Charles County was booming,” Winkler recalls. “We had fancy restaurants and lots of entertainment. Country and blues singers like Fats Domino starred in Waldorf clubs. Highway 301 ran from Maine to Florida, and many people stopped, ate, played and spent the night. It was a great time to live here.” But by 1968, Charles County’s gambling era was over. “In the 1960s, there was a growing concern about the dependency of our economy on slot machine gambling, and the


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Step Back to the Late 1700s

Learn about Thomas Stone, a Charles County native who signed the Declaration of Independence, at the Thomas Stone National Historic Site. The site includes Stone’s home, outbuildings, a family cemetery and a visitor center.

socioeconomic impact it had with unfavorable influences from outside the county,” says Phil McDonagh, production manager at SunTrust Mortgage Inc. and a lifelong resident of Charles County. “It wasn’t like the highly regulated, state-sponsored gambling that exists today.” Like Winkler, McDonagh has seen the county evolve into a diverse and progressive bedroom community. “We have nearly 148,000 residents now, as opposed to only around 21,000 back in the 1940 census,” McDonagh says. “We’ve transitioned from an agrarian community to a suburb that supports the Washington, D.C., business sector.” Despite all that’s changed, Charles County remains connected to its heritage through preservation of historic sites and keeping stories alive among generations. “People today are so consumed by their work and the demands of family life that our history isn’t

always fully embraced,” McDonagh says. “But Charles County has an important legacy, and folks continue to move here because it’s such a wonderful place.” Celebration With a Twist There are tales of tenacity from far more recent history, too. If you’d have visited downtown La Plata on the afternoon of April 28, 2012, you’d have witnessed 700 local residents dancing the Twist in front of Town Hall. It wasn’t the case of a town gone haywire – it was part of a larger celebration of how far La Plata has come in the past decade since an F4 tornado nearly devastated the town. While the tornado ruined many of the town’s homes and buildings, it did nothing to dampen the town’s spirit. A new Town Hall replaced the damaged one, becoming Southern Maryland’s first LEED-certified building. And local businesses such as Facchina Construction Co. supported their neighbors.

“In many ways, Facchina kept La Plata alive,” Winkler says. “Facchina bought trailers for businesses that were destroyed to move into, and they didn’t have to pay rent for the first year if they couldn’t afford to. We also had state and federal grant money to rebuild streets and sidewalks, and businesses were given around $25,000 to build bigger and better.”  by Jessica Mozo  by staff photographers


Historic Structu

re Christ Episcopal Church originally stood in Port Tobacco, but was dismantled and moved to La Plata, the county seat, in 1904. That structure burned in 1906 and the present church building, where services are still held today, was constructe d.





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S TO 1658

harles County ’s rich history tobacco, gamblin includes g and two signific wars, fires, tornadoes, ant but the newcomers to this commuthing that draws D.C., is its people nity near Washin – and their gton, adversity into opportunity. unfailing ability to turn





“People today are so consumed by their work and the demands of family life that our history isn’t always fully embrace d. Charles County But has an important legacy, and folks continue to move here because it’s such a wonderful place.”

CHARLES COUNTY HISTORIC SITES Founded in County has 1658, Charles several historic standing today sites that testify longevity. to its

“One of the neatest sites [1819] Port is the Tobacco Courthous says Wayne e,” Winkler, a La Plata town councilma resident. “Years n and lifelong ago, Port Tobacco was the commerce center and county seat. the It was where all the

farmers brought their tobacco shipped overseas.” to be An 1892 fire destroyed wing of the courthouse, the main and the county seat was The Port Tobaccomoved to La Plata. now a museum Courthouse is archeological containing tobacco, and St. Ignatius Civil War exhibits. Church, built 1798, is one in of continually the oldest operating Catholic churches in the nation. “It is also believed to be part of L i vA b i L i

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LIVING: Education

Smart Approach

Charles County schools earn high marks Charles County ensures students have access to top education options and brand new technology in the Charles County Public Schools system and the area’s private schools.

Technologically Enhanced Schools

The Charles County Public Schools system is gaining a reputation for using technology to enhance instruction. Schools offer wireless Internet access, as well as a rigorous science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) program. For example, North Point High School for Science, Technology and Industry provides state-of-theart equipment, classrooms, training and instruction to equip students for in-demand career fields. CCPS plans to infuse the same new technology into its older schools and improve offerings at all high schools.


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The College of Southe rn Maryland’s La Plata campus ser ves more than 8,000 students annual ly.

Private Schools

Independent OPTIONS Charles County has a host of private schools. In La Plata, Archbishop Neale School instructs students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade, as does St. Mary’s School in Bryantown. Waldorf is home to Grace Christian Academy of Maryland, which educates students in prekindergarten through grade 12, as does Southern Maryland Christian Academy in White Plains. A special education facility called High Road School of Southern Maryland in La Plata is for students enrolled in grades 4-12. Public School System

Charles County Public Schools CCPS is one of the fastest growing school systems in Maryland, with 26,800 students enrolled for the 2012-13 school year. The district has 39 schools and education centers, including 21 elementary schools. A 40th school – St. Charles High School – is under construction and will open in August 2014. Charles County Public Schools employs nearly 3,500 people, including 2,000 teachers. By Kevin Litwin

Read more about education in Charles County at la-plata/md/schools.

PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICES FOR ALL RESIDENTS Administration • Birth and Death Certificates • Employment Disability Services • Support Services • Infants and Toddlers Services Environmental Services • Restaurant Inspections • Septic and Water Testing Mental Health Services • Out-Patient Treatment • Anger Management Classes

Nursing and Community Health Services • Immunizations • HIV Testing Public Health Preparedness and Response Services • Disaster Planning • Emergency Management Substance Abuse Services • Prevention Education • Screening for Substance Abuse

4545 Crain Hwy. • White Plains, MD 20695 301-609-6900 • Fax 301-934-4623 • TTY 800-735-2258 Hours of Operation: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (some programs may include evening hours)

The ONLY FREE CLINIC in Charles County serving the uninsured and under insured of Charles County

Adult Primary Care Pediatric & Adult Dental Services Clothing Distribution Center

In kind (doctors, RN, dentist, professional services, clothing and supplies) and monetary support needed.

A “Connection to Care” to other community agencies For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call (301) 645-3556. Visit us at or on Facebook.


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LIVING: Health

Connect the Docs

numerous health care providers ensure community wellness Wellness in Charles County has a healthy outlook, thanks to its quality medical facilities and nonprofit organizations.

fast fact The Joint Commission named Civista Medical Center one of the nation’s Top Performers on Key Quality Measures for 2012.

Civista Health System

Serving Charles County for more than 70 years Civista Health System has been around since 1939, when it was originally known as Physician’s Memorial Hospital, and its name was eventually changed in 1998 to Civista. Today, the health system continues to be anchored by the not-for-profit Civista Medical Center, a 121-bed facility located in La Plata. Civista Health also recently signed an agreement to affiliate with the University of Maryland Medical System, with a major advantage being the recruitment of their physicians to the Charles County area. In addition, Civista Medical Center has been increasing the size of its campus through several land and building acquisitions, growing by 40 percent over the past few years. It has also achieved national recognition for its clinical quality, as the Medical Center’s emergency department, inpatient and surgical service volumes continue to grow. l i va b i l i t y. c o m /c h a r l e s- c o u n t y


Health-Care Organizations and Providers

Hospice Care

treatment options available throughout the county

hospice house provides comfort and support

The Center for Children in La Plata provides mental health services to children and their families. It is dedicated to the prevention and treatment of child abuse, and to the promotion of positive mental health through crisis intervention, therapy, education and advocacy. Health Partners was founded in 1992 and moved into the old Waldorf School in 1996. The nonprofit clinic delivers health care to the uninsured and underinsured by leveraging the community’s skills and resources. The Charles County Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, located in La Plata, rehabilitates patients and provides services for the aging, with a focus on recovery and independence. Specialized attention includes Alzheimer’s and dementia care, short- and long-term care, and day services for adults in need of supervised medical treatment. Melwood and Spring Dell Center are both dedicated to serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. And the Charles County chapter of the American Red Cross and United Way of Charles County work to improve the community’s health and wellness in a variety of ways.

A 22,000-square-foot Hospice House opened in April 2012 on Davis Road in Waldorf, across the street from North Point High School. The facility is run by Hospice of Charles County and combines the comforts of home with 24/7 medical, spiritual and psychological care. Its mission is to support patients facing the realities of terminal illness.

Walk-In Clinic

Quick Care close to home The mission of Patient First-Waldorf is to provide access to medical care as conveniently and cost-effectively as possible. The medical facility is open 365 days from 8 a.m.-10 p.m., and no appointments are necessary. By Kevin Litwin

Get a healthy dose of information about health care in Charles County at md/health.


Every step you take in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure® helps raise vital funds for the fight against breast cancer. But don’t let your journey stop there. Take a step toward improving your own health by educating yourself about the disease and getting regular screenings. Step by step, this Race will be won. Learn more about the Komen Race for the Cure by visiting or calling 1-877 GO KOMEN. This space is provided as a public service. ©2008 Susan G. Komen for the Cure®


Charles Count y

Community profile


ethnicity 10% 26%

cost of living



Median Household Income



$277,249 Median Home Price






Median Rent for a Two-Bedroom Apartment

AGE 48%

 17 and Under  18-64  65 and Over

Transportation Median Travel Time to Work

Temperature January Average Low

July Average High 85°

24 minutes


31° 26°

Closest Airport: Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport January Low National Low

July High

National High

50 miles

New MilleNNiuM 14145 Brandywine Rd. Brandywine, MD 20613 (301) 372-2943 Toll-free: (877) 492-8419 Cell: (301) 643-0350 Fax: (301) 782-7463

Cynthia Brown Real Estate Manager Sales, Leasing & Property Management

3292 Crain Hwy. • Waldorf, MD 20603 O: (301) 870-8400 • F: (301) 870-4320 C: (301) 399-0486 •

Each Office Independently Owned and Operated


l i va b i l i t y. c o m /c h a r l e s- c o u n t y


business: overview

In Good Company

Defense, Retail and construction industries thrive Business is a pleasure in Charles County, which has many facets of big business represented throughout the region. Three of Charles County’s most important business sectors are retail, construction and defense. Retail Industry

county is shopping mecca Waldorf Marketplace is a spacious complex with tenants that include DSW, Famous Footwear, Office Depot, Petco, Safeway and Walgreens. Meanwhile, the 1.2 million-square-foot St. Charles Towne Center Mall in Waldorf has undergone a multi-million-dollar renovation in recent years. Its anchor tenants include Dick’s Sporting Goods, J.C. Penney, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Macy’s Home Store and Sears. The Shoppes at Berry Road in Waldorf is on Route 228 and features office space and retail stores, while The Shops at Waldorf Center is anchored by Babies R Us, h. h. gregg, Marshall’s, PetsMart and Ross Dress for Less. In La Plata, Rosewick Crossing is anchored by a Giant food store and a Lowe’s home center, and the complex is enjoying a strong occupancy rate.

It’s Easy Being Green in Charles County

Built by Facchina Construction Company, the 17,500-square-foot, $2.6 million La Plata Town Hall was the first building in Southern Maryland to receive a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The structure, which was completed in 2005 and received the certification in 2007, includes a geothermal heating and cooling system and was constructed using materials with recycled content, as well as materials manufactured or harvested locally. Defense Industry

More Tech Jobs on the way A major player in Charles County’s business economy is the Naval Support Facility Indian Head. The military base specializes in energetics research, weapons development and detonation science. Just north of the base is a 260-acre Indian Head Science and Technology Park, located adjacent to Maryland Airport. Just 30 miles from Washington, D.C., the park is expected to create 1,500 jobs.


Charles Count y

Construction Companies

contractors stay busy Facchina Construction Company has its national headquarters in La Plata and specializes in heavy highway, concrete frames, site development and commercial building services. Meanwhile, Reliable Contracting Company in White Plains has clientele that include builders, developers and government agencies. The company’s projects range in cost from $10,000 to $10 million, with Reliable crews working on Maryland’s roads, highways, airports, office parks, shopping centers, hospitals, churches and residential neighborhoods. By Kevin Litwin

Business Spotlight Southern Maryland Business Center Located in White Plains, the Southern Maryland Business Center provides reception services, office suites, a conference room and other amenities to established businesses, startups and entrepreneurs.

Bel Alton Motel Featuring roadside rooms with retro flair, Bel Alton Motel offers lodging with double beds, Internet access, televisions and more. The motel also includes an outdoor swimming pool, picnic tables and charcoal grills.

Baldus Real Estate This real estate company has served the area since 1960, helping clients find and secure residential and commercial properties. Baldus Real Estate also assists with rental homes and land acquisition.

Port Tobacco Consulting Often working with clients in the construction industry, Port Tobacco Consulting is involved with projects from conception to completion, ensuring that construction is finished on time and within the client’s budget.

Port Tobacco Restaurant This restaurant features waterfront dining and a menu with items such as crab cakes, shrimp, steaks and salads. Port Tobacco Restaurant also showcases live entertainment on Friday and Saturday nights.

Grace Lutheran church Sunday Morning Worship 8:00 9:30 9:30 11:00

a.m. a.m. a.m. a.m.

PreK2-8th Grade

Traditional Liturgy Sunday School Contemporary Liturgy Praise & Worship

Nursery available at 9:30 & 11 a.m. services Confirmation/Jr. Youth and Sr. Youth Programs

Wednesday evening Worship 6:30 p.m.

Communion Service

Banquet & Meeting room rentals Perfect for weddings, rehearsal dinners, receptions, meetings, conferences. Also available: commercial kitchen and audiovisual system.

1200 charles St. La Plata, MD 20646

Grace Lutheran SchooL • Educational program accredited by the National Lutheran Schools Association • Degreed/certified teachers and highly qualified staff • Child development center provides licensed before- and after-school program for registered students • Daily devotions and weekly chapel • Hot lunch program • Physical education, music, art and foreign language • Dedicated computer technology lab • Dedicated library • After school clubs, parent teacher league and summer camps

(301) 932-0963 (301) 934-3806

Charles County Public Schools is a progressive school system and Charles County’s largest employer. More than 3,400 people help CCPS provide opportunities for all children to receive an academically challenging, quality education that focuses on academic achievement, personal responsibility and career readiness. Visit to learn more about the school system’s commitment to the Charles County community.

Contact Us: Charles County Public Schools 5980 Radio Station Rd. P.O. Box 2770 • La Plata, MD 20646 (301) 932-6610 • (301) 870-3814 l i va b i l i t y. c o m /c h a r l e s- c o u n t y



Healthy Residents & Economy

Civista Medical Center employs more than 800 people, making it one of Charles County’s top employers and a major contributor to the area’s business climate.


Charles Count y

Firing Up the



ten ‘economic engines’ keep County going


t its first-ever Economic Engines Awards Luncheon in September 2012, the Charles County Chamber of Commerce identified the region’s 10 largest employers.

“We wanted to show that in this economy, there are some large organizations that are really keeping our county going by keeping people employed,” says Darlene Breck of the Southern Maryland Business Center, who served on the luncheon committee. “Every one of those employees turns around and puts their money right back into our community, paying their mortgages, buying groceries and signing their kids up to play on local sports teams.” Looking at the Numbers The top three employers in the county – the Charles County government, the Board of Education and the Sheriff’s Office – are all public entities and employ a collective 5,033 people. The other top employers include Naval Support Facility Indian Head (3,358), College of Southern Maryland (1,100), Civista Medical Center (805), Walmart/Sam’s Club (674), Safeway (500), Facchina Group of Companies (480),

Target (400), SMECO (379) and Southern Maryland Oil (377). The numbers were surprising to some committee members, because it’s easy to overlook the economic impact that accompanies the necessary services provided by some of these employers. “You don’t think of your local hospital as employing so many people, but they do,” Breck says. “Not only are they our only hospital, but they also provide a lot of jobs. It’s just interesting how some of these organizations are doing great things for the community, keeping us healthy, keeping us safe, educating our children, but they’re also providing jobs.” For instance, the county’s largest employer, Charles County Public Schools, employs 3,430 people as well as several thousand more part-time or temporary workers, says James Richmond, superintendent of schools. “Most of those employees are Charles County residents who live, work, shop and l i va b i l i t y. c o m /c h a r l e s- c o u n t y


contribute greatly to our economy,” he says. “It is important as an employer that we contribute to the community because they give so much to us. The citizens of this county fund a large portion of the school system through taxes, which enables us to be a world-class school system and to provide the necessary resources and support to the classroom.” Doing Business in Charles County For the top employers, Charles County offers much in return including qualified, motivated employees and proximity to Washington, D.C. Some of the county’s largest employers have been here for generations. “As a family-owned and -operated company that has been in business for more than 86 years, SMO is deeply rooted in Southern Maryland,” says John Combs, president of Southern Maryland Oil. “Charles County has been a great place to do business, and it’s exciting to see how it continues to grow and change. The community here sticks together and has a lot of heart.” Those long-term commitments to the Charles County community continue to bear fruit. For instance, SMECO, one of the county’s largest employers, currently has two major projects under construction in Charles County, a new engineering and operations facility in

Southern Maryland Oil has 377 employees in the Charles County area.

Hughesville and a 5.5 megawatt solar farm. “These projects make us very proud and have provided solid construction jobs during rough economic times,” says Thomas Dennison, SMECO’s government and public affairs manager. “SMECO has been providing power here in Southern Maryland for 75 years. We take pride in our efforts to support the community, and we certainly appreciate being recognized as an economic engine.” Recruiting workers Top employers say that recruiting talented workers to Charles County is not a difficult task because the community has so much to offer and such a high

quality of life. “The support, opportunities and positive teaching environment in Charles County Public Schools is a draw for new teachers,” Richmond says. “Combined with the positive qualities of Charles County, including its proximity to major cities, affordable quality of life, diverse population, military bases and easy access to technology, we are attracting a higher quality of applicants each year.”  by Nancy Jackson  by staff photographer Learn more about Charles County’s business climate and strong workforce at md/business.

Woman Owned & Managed Termite Inspections & Treatments Pest Control


Residential & Commercial

Serving Charles, Calvert, St. Mary’s and PG Counties

Rodent Control

Green Services Available (301) 609-9300 • (410) 257-0077

Septic Certifications & Well Test

MD License #26844

Bed Bugs

Charles Count y

40 Drury Dr. La Plata, MD 20646

business: Chamber Report

Hail to the Chief

New chamber president has big plans for members Craig Renner is bringing back the Charles County Chamber of Commerce Trade Expo in 2013. “Charles County is a community of businesses with a wide variety of products and services, so a local trade expo is fundamental in promoting local trade and commerce,” says Renner, who began his one-year term as Charles County Chamber of Commerce president on January 1, 2013. Renner says his goal as president in 2013 might sound cliché, but it is to provide value for being a Chamber member. “For example, I met in October 2012 with people at the College of Southern Maryland to develop a series of programs and seminars that will help our members on a

variety of business-related subjects, with the seminars being free or at a very reduced cost,” he says. The seminars are available solely to members, although sessions will be open to business owners as well as their employees. Veteran Hires Renner is also working on a Veterans Outreach Program, with plans to increase job opportunities for area military veterans. “Some of the veterans are academically skilled, and our Outreach Program is looking into what types of additional programs need to be developed to match these military veterans with member businesses throughout Charles County.”

Another initiative that Renner has been planning is a Youth Entrepreneurship Program, in which high school and middle school students visit area businesses to learn what it takes to be good business owners and employees. “Charles County is a great place to do business – we rank 11th for counties in the United States in per capita income,” he says. “This community has good health care, a new high school opening in 2014, plenty of sports and recreation, and dozens of other positives that amplify the brightness of our future. It’s an especially good time to be a member of the Charles County Chamber of Commerce.”  by Kevin Litwin

Southern Maryland Hospitality at Its Best Best Western Plus la Plata Inn • Award-winning property • Complimentary hot breakfast

Asya Heatley Business Account Executive 253 Najoles Rd. • Millersville, MD 21108 Mobile: 410-218-8377 • Fax: 866-527-2527 Office: 410-729-8114

• Microwaves and refrigerators in every room • Complimentary high-speed Internet 6900 Crain Hwy., Rte. 301 La Plata, MD 20646 (301) 934-4900 • (877) 356-4900

Access ATM, LLC DoNAlD BelfielD Owner/CEO 8435 Old Stagecoach Rd. La Plata, MD 20646 301-399-3214

ATMs When You Need Them Most

We also offer mobile ATM services for your event.

l i va b i l i t y. c o m /c h a r l e s- c o u n t y


visit our

advertisers Access ATM LLC Arrow American Pest Control Best Western Plus Brandywine Investment Properties LLC

Heating & a ir Conditioning Heat PumPs

geotHermal Heat PumPs

Authorized fActory sAles & service Residential • CommeRCial 6 Irongate Dr. Waldorf, MD 20602

Celebrating Our 57th Anniversary

Burch Oil/Propane CCNRC Family of Care Century 21 – Chris Lowe Charles County Department of Economic Development Charles County Department of Health Charles County Public Library Charles County Public Schools Civista Health Comcast Business Class Empire Graphics & Signs Facchina Grace Lutheran Church & School Health Partners Inc. Post Office Lake Dental Associates Potter Heating & Electric Inc. Residence Inn Marriott – Waldorf Southern Maryland Hospital Suburban Propane Town of Indian Head Walmart


Charles Count y

economic profile



County Sales Tax

 High School Graduate

State Sales Tax

 Associate Degree  Bachelor’s Degree or Higher


 Master’s Degree

Total Sales Tax



income by household*


 $30,000-$199,999  $29,999 & Under


Annual Hotel and Food Sales

11,011 Total Number of Firms

 College of Southern Maryland, Civista Medical Center, Walmart/ Sam’s Club  Safeway, Facchina Group of Companies, Target, SMECO, Southern Maryland Oil



Annual Retail Sales


Top Employers  Naval Support Facility Indian Head


education level


City Sales and Use Tax








Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority www.metwash

VanGO www.charlescounty. org/cs/vango



*Figures represent La Plata

This section is sponsored by

Ad Index

33 Access ATM LLC

33 Comcast Business Class

32 Arrow American Pest Control

36 Empire Graphics and Signs

33 Best Western Plus

27 Brandywine Investment Properties LLC

29 Grace Lutheran Church & School

C2 Burch Oil/Propane

24 Health Partners Inc.

24 CCNRC Family of Care

27 Century 21 – Chris Lowe

26 Post Office Lake Dental Associates

35 Charles County Department of Economic Development

34 Potter Heating & Electric Inc.

24 Charles County Department of Health

23 Charles County Public Library

29 Charles County Public Schools

C4 Civista Health

2 Facchina

15 Residence Inn Marriott – Waldorf

C3 Southern Maryland Hospital

34 Suburban Propane

36 Town of Indian Head

32 Walmart

2013 edition

volume 12

charles County


Content Director | Lisa Battles Contributing Writers | Joe Morris, Jessica Mozo, Nancy Jackson Content Coordinator | Jessica Walker Boehm Staff Writer | Kevin Litwin Proofreading Manager | Raven Petty Lead Designer | Matt West Senior Graphic Designers | Stacey Allis, Laura Gallagher, Kris Sexton, Jake Shores, Vikki Williams Graphic Designers | Kara Leiby, Kacey Passmore Creative Technology Analyst | Becca Ary Senior Photographers | Jeff Adkins, Brian McCord Staff Photographers | Michael Conti, Wendy Jo O’Barr, Frank Ordonez Color Imaging Technician | Alison Hunter Integrated Media Manager | Kari Quill Sales Support Project Manager | Sara Quint Sales Support Coordinator | Christina Morgan Ad Production Manager | Katie Middendorf Ad Traffic Assistants | Krystin Lemmon, Patricia Moisan Web Project Manager | David Day Digital Project Manager | Jill Ridenour Digital Products Designer | Erica Lampley Web Development Lead | Yamel Hall Web Developer I | Nels Noseworthy Web Designer II | Richard Stevens Web Product Manager | John Hood Chairman | Greg Thurman President/Publisher | Bob Schwartzman Executive Vice President | Ray Langen Senior V.P./Sales | Todd Potter Senior V.P./Client Development | Jeff Heefner Senior V.P./Operations | Casey Hester

Town of Indian Head “On the Move”

V.P./Sales | Jarek Swekosky V.P./Content Operations | Natasha Lorens Audience Development Director | Deanna Nelson Creative Services Director | Christina Carden Distribution Director | Gary Smith Photography Director | Jeffrey S. Otto Web Services Director | Allison Davis Controller | Chris Dudley Senior Accountant | Lisa Owens Accounts Payable Coordinator | Maria McFarland Accounts Receivable Coordinator | Diana Guzman IT Director | Daniel Cantrell Executive Secretary | Kristy Duncan Human Resources Manager | Peggy Blake Receptionist | Linda Bishop

Livability Charles County, Maryland is published annually by Journal Communications Inc. and is distributed through the Charles County Chamber of Commerce and its member businesses.

For more information, contact the Town Hall at: (301) 743-5511


Charles Count y

A quaint, rural community on a peninsula formed by the Potomac River and the Mattawoman Creek A small-town atmosphere – 20 minutes from the Capital Beltway Indian Head – Washington DC – So near – So different Adjacent to the Naval Surfaces Warfare Center A variety of recreational and water amenities New quality water access housing Growing community – “Watch our progress” Great business opportunities

For advertising information or to direct questions or comments about the magazine, contact Journal Communications Inc. at (615) 771-0080 or by email at For more information, contact: Charles County Chamber of Commerce 101 Centennial St., Ste. A • LaPlata, MD 20646 Phone: (301) 932-6500 • Fax: (301) 932-3945 Visit Livability Charles County, Maryland online at ©Copyright 2013 Journal Communications Inc., 725 Cool Springs Blvd., Suite 400, Franklin, TN 37067, (615) 771-0080. All rights reserved. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in whole or in part without written consent. Member Member

The Association of Magazine Media Custom Content Council

Member Charles County Chamber of Commerce

Livibility Charles County, MD 2013  

A pleasant visit to Charles County can interest any history buff, since the community was established way back in 1658. It is home to landma...

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